PREFACE/CORRECTION: Some of this article (including a couple of images and a list of airlines) is based on the post from Australian Business Traveller at http://www.ausbt.com.au/fast-track-for-frequent-flyers-at-hong-kong-airport. Other bits of the post came from the Hong Kong Government Web Site and Wikipidea.
Whilst some of this post came from my actual experience with eChannel whilst in Hong Kong, to get the missing picture, I had to route around to try and get the missing bits.
I apologise profusely for the infringement caused and unreservedly offer an apology.
A little highlight for those who go in and out of the fragment harbour more than not (and something that is not overly highlighted) something Hong Kong offers frequent travellers – E-Channel.
E-Channel is like NEXUS (Canada/USA), Global Entry (USA) and IRIS (UK) where you register for a service so you can clear immigration quickly on a trusted visitor basis – except it’s open to a majority rather than persons domiciled to that territory.
The version visitors use is the Frequent Visitor Automated Passenger Clearance.
For this you need:
- A valid travel document with a multiple visit visa (if applicable) – In other words your passport
- And one of the following
- A valid HKSAR Travel Pass or
- An APEC Business Travel Card with the economy code “HKG” or
- Hong Kong International Airport Frequent Visitor Card or
- Frequent Flyer Programme Membership Card issued by an airline which has joined eChannel
Typically this means at least 3 entry/exit stamps in your passport or one of the Frequent flyers schemes that have signed up:
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air France
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- China Airlines
- China Southern
- Eva Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Hong Kong Airlines
- Hong Kong Express
- Japan Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Korean Air
- Malaysia Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Brunei
- Singapore Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
Normally with any of these, you’ll need to be at least Silver, in some cases Gold or Platinum to register for eChannel.
You can enrol at any of the following entry points. Check the opening times at http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/control/echannel.htm#fvapc:
- Lok Ma Chau Spur Line
- Lo Wu
- Shenzhen Bay
- China Ferry Terminal
- Macau Ferry Terminal
- Hong Kong International Airport
Once you registered (assuming you’ve met all the criteria that the Government of Hong Kong deems), you’ll get a lovely sticker that is scannable by the eChannel Machines:
A pretty and scanable sticker on the back of the passport – Image – Hong Kong Department of Immigration/Australian Business Traveller
When you next leave the country, pop the passport with the scanable elements in the machine (or the passport page). If it validates, you can go through for biometric clearance (normally a fingerprint). If it all matches, you’re let through on your way.
Example eChannel Gates – Image – Image – Hong Kong Department of Immigration/Australian Business Traveller
And that’s all there is to it.
When you go into the country, you get a receipt to put in your passport stating how long you have leave to remain in the territory – hang on to it if eChannel is broken on the way out of Hong Kong (and whilst you are there). On the way out, it’s the same process, without a receipt.
If you’ve in and out of Hong Kong, it’s a massive time saver (even if you’re going back and forth to Macau as the queues for immigration the ferry could mean you catching… or missing your ferry – or getting out of Hong Kong Airport before the masses).
More details at http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/control/echannel.htm#fvapc. Could be worth a read before you register.
Highly recommended from me.